Facts about Venom
What is a Snake Venom?
- Snake venom is highly modified saliva.
- The saliva contains zootoxins which facilitate the immobilization and digestion of prey.
- Venoms contain more than 20 different compounds, mostly proteins, and polypeptides.
- There are four distinct types of venom that act on the body differently.
- Proteolytic venom dismantles the molecular structure of the area surrounding and including the bite.
- Hemotoxic venoms act on the heart and cardiovascular system.
- The Neurotoxic venom acts on the nervous system and brain.
- Cytotoxic venom has a localized action at the site of the bite.
Venoms that are composed of neurotoxins are particularly deadly, as the proteins within them are able to disrupt the channels that allow ions to flow across neuron membranes. When these communication channels are disrupted, entire body systems can crash, leading to immediate death.
The World Health Organization estimates that 80% of the world’s population depends on traditional medicine for their primary health care needs.
Snake Venom as Medicine
- Medicines derived from hemotoxins are used to treat heart attacks and blood disorders. The very first drug derived from snake venom toxin was developed to treat high blood pressure.
- Other drugs derived from hemotoxins include eptifibatide, which contains a modified rattlesnake venom protein, and tirofiban, which contains a venom protein from the African saw-scaled viper. Both of these medicines are used as a treatment for minor heart attacks and/or severe chest pain.
- Proteins in venom utilized in fighting diseases like bronchial asthma, Parkinson’s un-wellness, Alzheimer’s unwellness, and bound pain disorders.
Read – Facts About Snakes